Tag Archives: animals

The javelina, or is it?

The name of this orphan has caused some confusion. Our neighbour Pablo, whose son stumbled on the baby during a hunting trip in the hills, calls it a javelina. In fact javelina is another name for a peccary, a medium-sized hooved animal, part of the pig family. But the new occupant of the vacant hen house looks more to me as if it is a wild boar piglet, the clue being its distinctive stripes which have faded over the last two to three weeks as it has grown.

I suspect the confusion has arisen because the peccary/javelina is often kept as a pet or raised on farms as a source of food. Needless to say, Pablo had his family have no plans to eat their javelina which at the first opportunity is out of his pen and into the house. Cheeky and curious, when missing he is apparently found most often underneath the bed. No word on their plans for him when he is older!

5 to remember
un huérfano – an orphan
la confusion – the confusion
talla media – medium-sized
enganchado – hooved
distintivo – distinctive

Collins Photoguide: Complete Mediterranean Wildlife [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The javelina: an orphan, now a cheeky addition to ‘la granja’ #nature in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2nx via @Spanish_Valley  

A bat, asleep

When I found this bat, behind a tall plant pot in the pool house beside the pool, I feared he was dead. I took two photos and decided to wait and see.

The next morning he was gone. Perhaps he had fallen and was stunned. I’m fairly sure he was a Pipistrelle because his body was small, usually they are 3.5 to 5.2 cm, his rounded muzzle and reddish-brown fur. 

[photo Wikipedia]

The Pipistrelle [above] is fairly common here and across Europe. It forages along woodland edges, looking for flies, caddisflies, lacewings and mayflies. It considers mosquitoes, midges and gnats as particular delicacies.


‘Wild Animals’ [RSPB Pocket Nature]

5 to remember
el murciélago– the bat
estoy bastante seguro– I’m fairly sure
el hocico redondeado– the rounded muzzle
el pelaje marrón rojizo– the reddish-brown fur
bastante común – fairly common

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A Pipistrelle bat, asleep #Nature in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2jm via @Spanish_Valley 

A surprising visitor

This was a first: every time we have spotted a wild animal or bird in the valley we have told Pablo who says ‘Yes, I’ve seen thousands of those.’ But when we told him about our latest sighting, he was dumbfounded. He has never seen an Egyptian Mongoose, or meloncillo as the Spanish know it.

[photo: Wikipedia]

Not native to Spain, the mongoose was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula during the Arab occupation 711 AD through 1492 AD. It is thought the moors introduced the mongoose, and probably the genet cat too, to hunt rats. The mongoose certainly eats snakes. It is a meat-eater – rodents, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects – as well as fruit and eggs. To crack open an egg, the mongoose throws it between its legs against a rock or wall.

One explanation for the fact that we’ve lived here all this time and have never seen one before, is that they are largely nocturnal. We saw two pups which disappeared rapidly into a bank of romero. They were spotted only once, and it is likely they are living in a rabbit warren.

Watch a meloncillo at You Tube.


Collins Photoguide: Complete Mediterranean Wildlife’ [UK: Collins]

5 to remember
la Península Ibérica – the Iberian Peninsula
nocturno – nocturnal
un carnívoro – a meat-eater
es probable que – it is likely that
un conejo warren – a rabbit warren

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Egyptian mongoose in the #secretvalley #WildAnimals in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-264

A Little Friend

This little friend appeared silently last night on the wall of the sitting room. He was completely unphased by us, occasionally moving slightly, flicking his tail. Two nights previously we saw a baby gecko, about 4cm long. Similar colouring, pale blush pink. Interestingly, the gecko positioned himself above a floor-standing lamp: lying in wait for moths?

gecko1 28-7-15gecko2 28-7-155 to remember
un/a amigo/a – a friend [male/female]
silenciosamente – silently
de vez en cuando – occasionally
ligeramente – slightly
previamente – previously

Wild boar activity

Only one thing could have made this mess: roots dug up, soil unearthed. Wild boar.
The damage. The evidence. Thankfully, nature will repair itself.

The culprit. Fresh hoofprints in the mud. The guilty party who made a series of cozy resting places, beneath sheltered trees.

5 to remember
sólo – only
el desorden – the mess
el danó – the damage
las pruebas – the evidence
el/la culpable – the culprit

The tiniest gecko

I disturbed this guy when I opened the kitchen gate. He ran along the wall and hid behind the wheelie bin. He was only one inch long and the palest of cream colours. Beautiful. the tiniest gecko 25-8-13When I returned with my camera he was still in the same place. After that there followed a small dance of to-ing and fro-ing as he tried to get out of my way and I tried to get a second photograph. I stopped trying, in the end, because I didn’t want to frighten him to death. the gas bottle store 26-8-13A family of geckos lives in our gas bottle store. We have no mains gas here so use huge 35kg tall blue bottles of propano, propane, which are kept in a locked cage. I guess he’s the baby of the family.
5 to remember
lo abrí – I opened it
la puerta de la cocina – kitchen gate
el contenedor de basura con ruedas – wheelie bin
pálido/a – pale
crema – cream [the colour]

A hare not a bunny

When I was a child in East Yorkshire I remember seeing hares, but that was a long time ago. Here in Spain we are used to seeing them in the olive groves. They are shy and nocturnal, we only ever see them in our headlights when driving at night. They are like a rabbit but with longer legs and black-tipped ears, but they run much faster.

[photo: Wikipedia]

[photo: Wikipedia]

5 to remember
la liebre – the hare
el conejo – tje rabbit
la pata – the leg of bird or animal
la oreja – the ear
negro/a – black

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Longer legs & bigger ears: a hare, not a bunny #wildlife in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-aV